In a Foreword to Donovan Pasha, published in 1902, I used the following words: "It is now twelve years since I began giving to the public tales of life in lands well known to me. The first of them were drawn from Australia and the islands of the southern Pacific, where I had lived and roamed in the middle and late eighties.... Those tales of the Far South were given out with some prodigality.
In such terms, and thus far, ran the Foreword to the first issues of this book, whose later fortunes have made necessary the lengthening of the Foreword with a postscript. The needed addition this much at least chiming with good luck is brief.
With this brief foreword I now put you aside, little diary, meaning to seek your company again ere the hour of retiring has arrived. So be of good cheer and grow not impatient through the long hours, for anon I shall return. Ten-forty-five P. M. of even date; to wit, April the third. True to my promise, here I am, pen in hand and finger at brow.
A foreword as to care of mountable specimens in the field may save a great amount of cleaning of mussed skins in the shop. All shot or bullet holes should be immediately plugged with cotton when specimens are taken. Take a little cotton along in your hunting coat for this purpose. In birds plug also the mouth, nostrils, and vent to prevent escape of juices into plumage.
And that reminds me: This, after all, is a foreword to Green Mansions the romance of the bird-girl Rima a story actual yet fantastic, which immortalizes, I think, as passionate a love of all beautiful things as ever was in the heart of man. Somewhere Hudson says: "The sense of the beautiful is God's best gift to the human soul."
And finally, the editor's foreword ended with: "We have not yet made up our minds entirely as to the merits of "Ephemera"; perhaps we shall never be able to do so. But we have read it often, wondering at the words and their arrangement, wondering where Mr. Brissenden got them, and how he could fasten them together." Then followed the poem.
"One moment," interrupted his listener. "There are some stories that read better for a foreword, however brief. What has happened?" "This: last night it was the purpose of Governor Bucks and Receiver Guilford to go to Gaston by special train. In some manner, which has not yet been fully explained, there was a confusion of orders.
This point was touched upon in the Foreword how in the joy of the roses that answered months after the labour was forgotten, it suddenly occurred what a marvel is the culture of the human soul. The preparation of the mind is paramount. Not a touch of care or a drop of richness is lost; not an ideal fails.
With this foreword I will begin the record in more detail. I have spoken of my good luck. It began in my being born on a farm, of parents in the prime of their days, and in humble circumstances. I deem it good luck, too, that my birth fell in April, a month in which so many other things find it good to begin life.
It seemed to me not only a picturesque title, significant of my native country, but one which permitted the use of a grimly sardonic foreword. This I supplied. Follow it far enough, it may lead past a bend in the river where the water laughs eternally over its shallows. Mainly it is long and weariful and has a dull little town at one end, and a home of toil at the other.